10
Feb
10

Fear of FAIL… and Why We Need to Screw Up More Often

I’m inspired by a fantastic piece up over at Ars Technica that I just read.  Matthew Lasar, the author, offers a three-page rogue’s gallery of lesser-known inventors and innovators in telecommunications.  All of them failed to capitalize on their discoveries, usually because they were a few decades ahead of their time.

Here’s the article.  (Clicky Readey)

As a teacher, what strikes me the most about this is the alarming trend in child rearing and education to shield a kid’s purportedly fragile self-esteem from the “crushing” experience of failure.

Parents, fellow teachers, and other responsible, compassionate adults reading this: please hear me.  It is MUCH more important that a child learn how to fail and learn from the failure than it is for them to experience success.  To fail to do so is to produce a person with an inflated ego due to an overestimation of his or her own abilities, and to whom the entire concept of “trial and error” is an alien thing.

Perhaps worse still, you deprive them of the thrill of success that only truly comes after repeated, failing attempts.

So let them bump their heads, skin their knees, fail a school paper or project, or even an entire class.  Then be there to help show them the most important part of the process: how to dust yourself off, clean up the blood, accept the natural consequences of your choices, and ultimately try, try again.

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The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
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